Guidance on characterization of excavated soil and other materials intended for re-use

This document provides guidance on the range of tests that could be necessary to characterize soil and other soil materials intended to be re-used, with or without preliminary treatment (e.g. screening to remove over large material). It is intended to be of use in determining the suitability of soil materials for re-use (see 3.4.1), and the assessment of the environmental impacts that might arise from re-use. It takes into account the different requirements of topsoil, sub-soil and other soil materials such as sediments or treated soils. International Standard methods are listed that might be of use for characterization. Soil materials include natural soils and other materials (e.g. fill, made ground) excavated, stripped, or otherwise removed from their original in-ground or above-ground location (e.g. stockpile), dredged materials, manufactured soils, and soil treated to remove or destroy contaminants. For manufactured soils, which are often made using excavated materials together with other materials such as "green waste", the characteristics of the components and of the manufactured product might need to be determined. NOTE The terms "excavated soil" and "excavated soil materials" are used for brevity throughout the document to embrace the range of materials covered. An overriding principle governing the guidance provided in this document is that when there is to be no change in intended land use at the target site, imported soil materials cannot lead to a permanent reduction in performance of relevant soil functions. The guidance provided is intended to cover a range of possible end uses, including: — play areas for small children, including nursery schools, kindergartens, etc.; — schools; — gardens and other residential areas; — allotments; — horticulture; — agriculture; — forestry; — recreational areas, e.g. parks, sport fields; — restoration of damaged ecosystems; — mining and industrial sites; — construction sites; — road and rail constructions. It is not applicable to the placement of soil materials in an aqueous environment or to restore underground workings. It does not address geotechnical requirements when soil materials are to be used as construction material. NOTE The sensitive end uses listed above such as play areas for small children, schools, gardens, agriculture and recreational areas require particular care, particularly when excavated soils are derived from contaminated sites.

Lignes directrices sur la caractérisation de la terre excavée et d'autres matériaux du sol destinés à la réutilisation

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Published
Publication Date
02-Jun-2019
Current Stage
6060 - International Standard published
Start Date
03-Jun-2019
Completion Date
03-Jun-2019
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INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 15176
Second edition
2019-06
Guidance on characterization of
excavated soil and other materials
intended for re-use
Lignes directrices sur la caractérisation de la terre excavée et d'autres
matériaux du sol destinés à la réutilisation
Reference number
ISO 15176:2019(E)
ISO 2019
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 15176:2019(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2019

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

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Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO 15176:2019(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative reference ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

3.1 Types of soil and other soil materials ................................................................................................................................. 2

3.2 Soil characteristics ............................................................................................................................................................................... 4

3.3 Land and sites .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

3.4 Utilization, reclamation and treatment ............................................................................................................................. 5

3.5 Assessment ................................................................................................................................................................................................. 6

4 Characterization of soil materials and sites............................................................................................................................. 7

4.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7

4.2 Investigation strategies ................................................................................................................................................................... 9

4.3 Sampling strategies ..........................................................................................................................................................................10

4.3.1 General considerations ............................................................................................................................................10

4.3.2 Sampling in situ soil materials ..........................................................................................................................13

4.3.3 Sampling sediments ...................................................................................................................................................13

4.3.4 Sampling stockpiles of untreated or treated soil materials .....................................................14

4.3.5 Sampling materials arising from a process-based remediation method .....................14

4.3.6 Sampling manufactured soils .............................................................................................................................14

4.3.7 Sampling soil materials after placement at the target site .......................................................14

4.3.8 Sampling the water environment ...................................................................................................................14

4.4 Characterization of soil materials ........................................................................................................................................14

4.4.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................14

4.4.2 Description of source and target sites ........................................................................................................15

4.4.3 Chemical characterization including basic characteristics ......................................................17

4.4.4 Physical characteristics ...........................................................................................................................................22

4.4.5 Biological characteristics .......................................................................................................................................22

5 Data quality, handling and evaluation ........................................................................................................................................23

6 Using this document ......................................................................................................................................................................................24

Annex A (informative) Relevant parameters required for the chemical, physical and

biological characterization of materials for re-use .......................................................................................................25

Annex B (normative) Good practice in the re-use of soil materials ..................................................................................35

Annex C (informative) Guidance on determination of the scope of investigation needed

before excavation of soil materials .................................................................................................................................................39

Annex D (informative) Examples of classification and evaluation of soils and other soil

materials ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................41

Annex E (informative) Examples of elements and compounds belonging to different

contaminant groups .......................................................................................................................................................................................47

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................50

© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved iii
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ISO 15176:2019(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) see www .iso

.org/iso/foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 190, Soil quality, Subcommittee SC 7,

Impact assessment.

This second edition cancels and replaces the first edition (ISO 15176:2002), which has been technically

revised. The main changes compared to the previous edition are as follows:
— introduction of references to the ISO 18400 series of standards;
— updated references to international standards.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/members .html.
iv © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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ISO 15176:2019(E)
Introduction

This document is one of a series providing guidance on the assessment of soils and soil materials in

relation to certain functions and uses. It should be read in conjunction with other International

Standards, some of which give more specific guidance in relation to some of the uses listed in the Scope

or particular aspects of assessments. For example, ISO 15800 gives guidance on assessments relating

to human exposure to potentially harmful substances and ISO 15175 gives guidance on characterization

of contaminated soil related to groundwater protection.

Soils are the dynamic product of chemical, physical and biological processes. They are the result

of interactions between the inherent nature of the parent material, the prevailing environmental

conditions and human activities. They are a valuable natural and finite resource which should be

conserved wherever possible. When construction, mining or other activities require soils to be

excavated and moved from their natural situation, they should as far as possible be re-used in a manner

consistent with their natural properties and the intended use of the target location. Soils intended

for re-use are usually required to have certain chemical, leaching, geotechnical, physical, biological

and radiochemical attributes consistent with this future use. Particular attention should be paid in

situations where there is reason to believe that the soil might be contaminated.

Soils that are to be excavated, stripped, or otherwise removed from their original location, should be

investigated to determine how they can be re-used so as to minimize the quantities to be disposed of as

waste and to determine environmental impacts that might arise during re-use. Treatment of soils and

soil materials to remove or destroy contaminants or to reduce their availability to the environment can

alter soil properties. These properties should therefore be determined before re-use. For manufactured

soils, the characteristics of both the components and of the manufactured product might need to be

determined.

The purpose of characterizing soil (or other media) as suggested in this document is usually to enable

judgements to be made about its suitability for a defined use (e.g. arable farming, domestic gardens).

These judgements can be made by reference to published international or national guidance that sets

out physical, chemical or other generic criteria, or against criteria set on a site-specific basis. When

substances are present that might be harmful to human health or the environment, the judgement

can also be made on the basis of a site-specific qualitative, semi-quantitative or fully quantitative risk

assessment. In many jurisdictions, formal guidance on such assessments has been published. In some

cases this guidance fits within a legislative framework. Guidance has also been provided by professional

organizations and some standardization bodies.

When deciding whether to re-use soil material, other possibly competing or overriding objectives such

as protection of soil, nature, water and air; physical planning requirements and national legislative

requirements should be considered.

Assessment of soil material for re-use could require the measurement of the chemical, physical,

biological, geotechnical and radiochemical characteristics of soil material and of the source and target

sites. The assessor should identify those parameters that are appropriate to the task in hand.

This document identifies the functions and properties of soil materials at the source (point of origin) and

also the properties of the target (target) site which could be relevant to the potential uses listed in the

Scope and indicates for which parameters or procedures there are International Standards available.

Radiochemical and geotechnical aspects are not covered. For guidance on the geotechnical aspects of

the use of soil materials as construction material, see also other relevant International Standards (e.g.

those produced by ISO/TC 182, Geotechnics in the field of civil engineering) or national standards.

The way the soil is handled after excavation can affect soil properties. Some suggestions regarding good

practice in soil handling and related practice and monitoring after placement are provided in Annex B.

1) Under preparation. Stage at the time of publication: ISO/FDIS 15800.
© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved v
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INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 15176:2019(E)
Guidance on characterization of excavated soil and other
materials intended for re-use
1 Scope

This document provides guidance on the range of tests that could be necessary to characterize soil and

other soil materials intended to be re-used, with or without preliminary treatment (e.g. screening to

remove over large material). It is intended to be of use in determining the suitability of soil materials for

re-use (see 3.4.1), and the assessment of the environmental impacts that might arise from re-use. It takes

into account the different requirements of topsoil, sub-soil and other soil materials such as sediments

or treated soils. International Standard methods are listed that might be of use for characterization.

Soil materials include natural soils and other materials (e.g. fill, made ground) excavated, stripped, or

otherwise removed from their original in-ground or above-ground location (e.g. stockpile), dredged

materials, manufactured soils, and soil treated to remove or destroy contaminants. For manufactured

soils, which are often made using excavated materials together with other materials such as “green

waste”, the characteristics of the components and of the manufactured product might need to be

determined.

NOTE The terms “excavated soil” and “excavated soil materials” are used for brevity throughout the

document to embrace the range of materials covered.

An overriding principle governing the guidance provided in this document is that when there is to be

no change in intended land use at the target site, imported soil materials cannot lead to a permanent

reduction in performance of relevant soil functions.

The guidance provided is intended to cover a range of possible end uses, including:

— play areas for small children, including nursery schools, kindergartens, etc.;
— schools;
— gardens and other residential areas;
— allotments;
— horticulture;
— agriculture;
— forestry;
— recreational areas, e.g. parks, sport fields;
— restoration of damaged ecosystems;
— mining and industrial sites;
— construction sites;
— road and rail constructions.
© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved 1
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ISO 15176:2019(E)

It is not applicable to the placement of soil materials in an aqueous environment or to restore

underground workings. It does not address geotechnical requirements when soil materials are to be

used as construction material.

NOTE The sensitive end uses listed above such as play areas for small children, schools, gardens,

agriculture and recreational areas require particular care, particularly when excavated soils are derived from

contaminated sites.
2 Normative reference
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https: //www .iso .org/obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http: //www .electropedia .org/
3.1 Types of soil and other soil materials
3.1.1
soil

upper layer of the Earth’s crust transformed by weathering and physical/chemical and biological

processes composed of mineral particles, organic matter, water, gases and living organisms organized

in generic soil horizons

Note 1 to entry: In a broader civil engineering sense, soil includes topsoil and sub-soil; deposits such as clays,

silts, sands, gravels, cobbles, boulders and organic matter and deposits such as peat; materials of human origin

such as wastes; ground gas and moisture; and living organisms.
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.1.11, modified —"gases" replaces "air".]
3.1.2
topsoil

upper part of a natural soil that is generally dark coloured and has a higher content of organic matter

and nutrients when compared to the (mineral) horizons below, excluding the humus layer

Note 1 to entry: For arable land, topsoil refers to the ploughed soil depth, while for grassland; it is the soil layer

with high root content.
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.1.21]
3.1.3
subsoil

natural soil material below the topsoil and overlying the parent material parent rock beneath

Note 1 to entry: All or much of the original rock structure has usually been obliterated by pedogenic processes.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.1.20, modified — "parent rock beneath" added.]
3.1.4
soil material

material composed of excavated soil, dredged materials, manufactured soils, treated soils and fill

materials
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 7.4.16]
2 © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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ISO 15176:2019(E)
3.1.5
excavated soil
soil material extracted from the ground

EXAMPLE Topsoil, subsoil, altered parent rock, typically arising during construction works.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.6]
3.1.6
manufactured soil

manufactured product intended to perform specified soil functions produced by blending combinations

of natural, waste, or manufactured materials with the addition of nutrients or other additives, when

necessary

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.9, modified — "manufactured materials" replaces "soil materials".]

3.1.7
treated soil
soil that has been subjected to a process-based treatment method

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.16, modified — "process-based treatment method" replaces "ex situ or in

situ process".]
3.1.8
dredged material

solid material excavated or otherwise removed from waters, e.g. during maintenance, construction,

reconstruction and harbour or channel extension operation

Note 1 to entry: Dredged material might consist of sediment and soil taken from below the water surface.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.4, modified — "material excavated" changed to "solid material excavated

or otherwise removed from waters" and "extension measures from waters" modified in "harbor or

channel extension operation". In note 1 to entry: "subhydric soils" deleted and "soil and their parent

material beneath the surface water body" changed to "soil taken from below the water surface".]

3.1.9
anthropogenic ground
deposits which have accumulated through human activity
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015/DAmd 1:2019 ]
3.1.10
fill

anthropogenic ground in which the material has been selected, placed and compacted in accordance

with an engineering specification
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015/DAmd 1:2019]
3.1.11
made ground

anthropogenic ground comprising material placed without engineering control and/or manufactured

by man in some way, such as through crushing or washing, or arising from an industrial process

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015/DAmd 1:2019]

2) Under preparation. Stage at the time of publication: ISO 11074:2015/DAmd 1:2019.

© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved 3
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ISO 15176:2019(E)
3.2 Soil characteristics
3.2.1
soil functions

roles performed by soil that support ecosystems, the biosphere, the water environment and human

activities

EXAMPLE Control of substances and energy cycles as compartment of ecosystems, basis for life of plants,

animals and humans, basis for stability of buildings and roads, basis for the yield of agriculture, horticulture, and

forestry, carrier of genetic reservoir, document of natural history, archaeological and palaeological document.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.3.31, modified — "roles performed by soil that support ecosystems, the

biosphere, the water environment and human activities" replaces "description of the significance of

soils to man and the environment".]
3.2.2
background concentration

concentration of a substance characteristic of a soil type in an area or region arising from both natural

sources and anthropogenic diffuse sources such as atmospheric deposition

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.5.1, modified — "anthropogenic diffuse sources" replaces "non-natural

diffuse sources".]
3.2.3
background value

statistical characteristics of the total (natural pedo-geochemical and anthropogenic) content of

substances in soil

Note 1 to entry: It is commonly expressed in terms of an average, median, or a range of values.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.5.2, modified — Note 1 to entry added.]
3.2.4
natural background concentration

concentration of a substance that is derived solely from natural sources (i.e. of geogenic origin),

commonly expressed in terms of average, a range of values, or a natural-background value

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.5.7]
3.2.5
natural background value

statistical characteristics of the natural pedo-geochemical content of a substance in soils

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.5.8]
3.2.6
contaminant
substance or agent present in soil as a result of human activity

Note 1 to entry: There is no assumption in this definition that harms results from the presence of the contaminant.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.4.6]
3.2.7
potentially harmful substance

substance which by its chemical form, concentration or presence, can be dangerous to humans or the

environment
Note 1 to entry: It can be present naturally or as a result of human activity.
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.4.19]
4 © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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ISO 15176:2019(E)
3.2.8
residual contamination

amount or concentration of contaminants remaining in a specific medium, following remediation

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.4.21]
3.2.9
trace element

element present in low concentration in soil material in respect to the most commonly observed natural

background level
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.5.12]
3.2.10
essential trace element

element essential at low concentrations for plant or animal (including human) metabolism

Note 1 to entry: An element can be essential at low concentrations but become harmful at higher concentrations.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 3.5.5]
3.2.11
soil characterization

determination of relevant physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.1.12]
3.3 Land and sites
3.3.1
damaged land
degraded land

land which, due to natural processes or human activity, is no longer able to properly sustain an economic

function and/or its original natural ecological function
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.2]
3.3.2
target site
site at which soil is to be re-used
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.3.14]
3.4 Utilization, reclamation and treatment
3.4.1
re-use of soil material
useful and harmless utilization of soil materials

Note 1 to entry: Re-use can mean transfer of soil materials to another location for use in agriculture, horticulture,

forestry, gardens, recreational areas and construction sites.
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.12]
3.4.2
construction works

applications where soil materials are not required to have a direct productive use although they can

support other layers intended to have a productive use

Note 1 to entry: For example, including earthworks (e.g. embankments), landscape engineering, road

construction, construction of waste disposal sites, and backfilling of excavated sites or surface mines.

© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved 5
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ISO 15176:2019(E)

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.1, modified — "surface" added before "mines" in Note 1 to entry]

3.4.3
reclamation
rehabilitation
return of damaged, degraded or derelict land to beneficial use

Note 1 to entry: The term remediation is commonly restricted to the process of dealing with contaminated/

polluted sites.
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.11]
3.4.4
soil rehabilitation

action taken to improve the capability of damaged or degraded soil to perform specified functions (e.g.

addition of organic matter and nutrients to promote plant growth)
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 6.1.22]
3.4.5
remediation strategy

combination of remedial techniques and associated work programmes that will meet specified

contamination-related remediation objectives and other objectives (e.g. engineering related), and

overcome possible restraints

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 6.1.20, modified — "techniques" replaces "methods, "programmes"

added, "(e.g. residual contaminant concentrations)" removed, "possible restraints" replaces "residual

concentration"]
3.4.6
process-based treatment method

application of physical, chemical or biological processes either to remove or destroy contaminants, or to

reduce their availability to the environment

Note 1 to entry: Different treatment methods, e.g. biotreatment, are defined in ISO 11074.

3.4.7
stockpile
temporary deposit of soil material
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 2.2.14 modified — Note 1 and Note 2 to entry deleted]
3.4.8
investigation for compliance or performance

investigation, or programme of on-going inspection, testing or monitoring, to confirm that a remediation

strategy has been properly implemented and/or when a containment approach has been adopted, that

this continues to perform to the specified level
EXAMPLE Testing to confirm that all contaminated material has been removed.
3.5 Assessment
3.5.1
hazard

property of a substance or material, or situation that in particular circumstances could lead to harm or

pollution
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 5.2.15]
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ISO 15176:2019(E)
3.5.2
hazard
re-use of soil & soil materials

property of a substance or material, or any action that which might have an adverse effect on soil

functions
Note 1 to entry: A hazard has the potential to cause harm.
3.5.3
risk

combination of the probability and frequency of occurrence of a defined hazard and the magnitude of

the consequences of the occurrence
[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 5.2.24]
3.5.4
harmlessness

condition in which the application of a soil material does not result in

damage, as defined by specific criteria, to the present functions of the soil already at the target site

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 5.2.14]
3.5.5
data quality objectives

statement of the required detection limits, accuracy, reproducibility and repeatability of the required

analytical and other data

Note 1 to entry: Generic data quality objectives are sometimes set at national level. Data quality objectives can

also embrace the amount of data required for an area of land (or part of a site) or for a stockpile to enable a sound

comparison with generic guidelines or standards or for a site-specific or material-specific estimation of risk.

[SOURCE: ISO 11074:2015, 5.1.2]
4 Characterization of soil materials and sites
4.1 General

The purpose of characterizing soil materials and sites intended for re-use of soil material is to enable

judgements to be made ab
...

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